Embedded expert models: Implementing change initiatives which support departments from within

Thursday 8:00am - 9:30am Waterfront
Thematic Symposium

Stephanie Chasteen, University of Colorado at Boulder
Andrea Greenhoot, University of Kansas Main Campus
Carolyn Aslan, Cornell University-Endowed Colleges
Sarah Bean Sherman, University of British Columbia
Educational change efforts focused at the department level can be particularly powerful. This session will focus on the use of discipline-based educational experts (DBESs) embedded directly within departments as catalysts of change. As demonstrated in the Science Education Initiatives (SEIs) designed by Carl Wieman, such programs can be successful, but positive outcomes are not automatic. This symposium will bring together leaders of SEI-like initiatives for the first time, presenting lessons-learned and experiences on several campuses. This session will be focused on advice for leaders of such initiatives, or campuses, or departments engaged in such initiatives. We will provide recommendations for structuring programs like the SEI, including training and supporting DBESs, engaging faculty and departments in the initiative, and assessing impact. Advice for structuring programs like the SEI are now available through Wieman (2017), and the new free, open-source SEI Handbook, at Science Education Initiative Handbook . Attendees will have an opportunity to win a printed copy of the handbook.

Presentation Media

Embedded expert models - handouts (Acrobat (PDF) 206kB Apr3 19)
Embedded expert models - slides (Acrobat (PDF) 3.5MB Apr3 19)


Embedded expert models
discussion thread (private) »

This will be a panel discussion, comprised of a series of panel discussions focused on topics germane to the DBES model, organized by the messages in the Science Education Initiative Handbook

Each topic will take approximately 20 minutes, which includes 10 minutes of presentation from the main panelist/facilitator, and 10 minutes of contributions from the other panelists and audience Q&A.


  1. Introduction and initial reflection. We will describe the DBES/SEI model, and ask participants to think-pair-share at tables to generate their own questions. They will write these questions on their reflection sheet. Introduce the panelists and their initiative structures (Facilitator: Chasteen).
  2. Topical Panel discussions:
    1. What is a DBES and what is their role? (Chasteen and Sherman)
    2. How can you support DBESs? Community and training. (Greenhoot)
    3. Engaging faculty and departments, including accountability for follow-through and sustainability. (Aslan and Chasteen)
  3. Open reflection and discussion. This will include discussion of contextual issues, and challenges for funding and assessing and sustaining such initiatives. Copies of the Handbook will be raffled.

Useful links

  • Science Education Initiative Handbook
  • Sign up for our discussion forum here. This will be used as an ongoing discussion forum for this and other opportunities to engage SEI-related efforts. Post jobs, ask about partnering with faculty or engaging departments, etc. Once you are signed up, you can access the discussion forum here.
  • TRESTLE Network . The Transforming Education, Stimulating Teaching and Learning Excellence (TRESTLE) Network is a 7-institution project to use the SEI model in different contexts. Find outputs and resources from our project, such as COPUS observation training protocols, on our website.

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